Brooklyn-based Amanda Browder is an artist who creates large, playful installations with fabric. She recently created a site-specific work for Mississauga City Hall this past September as part of F’d Up! an exhibition with the Art Gallery of Mississauga, on until November 9. F’d Up! explores directions in fibre-based art that creates a ‘radical vocabulary around material invention and sculptural ambitions’.
Amanda kindly answered a few questions about this new work.
What inspired your installation work Cascading Mississauga?
I was inspired by the City Hall building of Mississauga. The Great Hall is extremely rectilinear and I wanted to make a piece that reacted to its strong structure. The cascading shape uses architectural forms that are symmetrical but curved, hopefully creating a softer yet statuesque sculpture that is more inviting. Conceptually I wanted to parallel the uniqueness of how my work is built by a collective of volunteers, paralleling the community aspect of Mississauga city government.
This art piece debuted in Brooklyn, and now is coming to Canada. I understand that you have roots in both places. How will this change or not change when it is migrating across borders?
The piece is constructed in Brooklyn, yet is made specifically for this space. New fabric and new construction. There are 905 pieces of fabric used, paralleling the area code of Mississauga and has included many donated pieces of fabric from the region as an homage to the location. We were not able to have public sewing days as part of this piece, but that is a regular aspect of my work.
Your work inspires play and community engagement. Tell me about this.
I find it important to remind people how important it is to support fine art in our communities. It is traditionally the first department to be cut of funding and is regularly discussed as a hobby vs. a practice. I find it important that my works are in the public sphere because it lends to the regular conversations about art making, sculpture and creativity as an everyday practice. I find also showing in the public sphere outside the museums and galleries as a way to connect with my local community who is housing my work. Connecting, discussing and laughing about how this piece relates to each viewers own creative experience makes me feel as if I am doing my part as an artist to encourage art as a comfortable topic of discussion and hopefully remind viewers how good it makes them feel to engage.
Why use fibre for this piece? What is inherent about cloth that is appealing to you as an artist working with concepts of landscape and space?
Fabric has so many inherent attributes that are positive in working with pieces that are large scale. Because my work is about shift in scale, the fabric connects with people in many ways. It is a material that encourages people to find patterns they might remember from their own personal histories, and see the impact that it can create when it is put in a large scale piece. Fiber has a private element to it, it is found in homes, clothing, etc. we all see it somewhere personal. I hope to create works that bolster that comparison between the public and the private. Large scale fabric works break free of the “craftiness” and “traditional women’s work” and encourage the boldness that the sculptures demand in an architectural realm. Large scale items take collaboration, and I hope that the fabric is a physical reminder of how that is evident in the work and in life.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell me that I haven’t asked?
I have a second piece that is located in The Art Gallery of Mississauga called Future Phenomena. Here you will be able to see a piece that I made for the community of Greenpoint, Brooklyn (my current home) and how large/small it is when it’s folded. There will be an image of the piece installed next to the actual piece. I am so happy to be able to show in a gallery that is located in a federal building. It makes Mississauga unique and a fantastic place to be.
To learn more about Cascading Mississagua, click here.